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Ask Allied: How do We Make Our Old Furniture Work in a New Space?

by Jackie Heath. on Apr 19, 2019
Buying new furniture for a home isn't at the top of everyone's list after moving. However, everything from rearranging a room's layout, a good cleaning, or using the room's lighting to your advantage can help you make the most of your old home's furniture.
Ask Allied: How do we make our old furniture work in a new space?

One of the challenges to moving into a new home is that furniture which looked just fine in your old home can look off in a new environment. Most people can’t just go out and buy all new furniture, so they need to rely on basic decorating tricks to make it look good. Whether it’s updating the styling or making the most of older or worn furniture, we’ve got tips to help you make the most of your new home.

First, just because the furniture was arranged one way in your old home, doesn’t mean it has to be arranged the same way in your new home. If your rooms are significantly larger, you’ll need to rework the layout to fit the scale of the room. You’ll also need to rework the layout to fit the flow of the room. Try out multiple room arrangements until you hit one that’s right. Shop the rest of your house to pull together a look that makes you happy.

Moving to a new home can make sofas and chairs that were fine appear old, worn and tired. Sometimes, it’s just that they need a good cleaning, so remove cushion covers and have them cleaned, or hire someone to professionally clean your upholstery. Sometimes, though, the fabric is fine, but the cushions are sagging and lifeless. Consider replacing the foam inserts in seat and seatback cushions so it springs back to life, and is more comfortable. If the color doesn’t seem right, consider either custom or adjustable slipcovers in a better color.

Wooden pieces can look worn out, too. If scratches and dings are suddenly standing you, buy a repair kit and take care of scratches on table tops or table legs. Solid wood furniture can also be refinished or repainted to give it a fresh new appearance. Just be sure to thoroughly clean and sand before repainting.

If you can’t do anything about your large furniture pieces, reconsider how they’re styled. Inexpensive accessories in contrasting colors, styles and textures, can update the look of a room instantly. If your furniture looks dark and dowdy, use bright colors, metallic or mirror finishes, and chunky or furry textures to make the room brighter and more modern. If you have modern furniture with metallic legs and a lot of right angles makes your room seem hard and cold, bring in rounded accent pieces, warm wood tones, and plants or flowers to warm the room up.

Pay attention to lighting and window treatments. Harsh or very bright light will highlight every flaw in your furniture. Inadequate light will create shadows and dark corners. Use sheer curtains or lightweight blinds to filter natural daylight, and frame them with contrasting heavier curtains. If your room seems unusually dim or has dark corners, add additional light sources. Design experts advise three light sources in every room. And remember that mirrors reflect light and make space seem larger, so adding a large mirror in a room that seems small and dingy will go a long way to making it shine.

The best advice may be to take the attention off items that you feel don’t look good by highlighting those that look great. That could mean painting the wall behind your couch so it blends in, and hanging a gallery wall above it does draw the eye. It could mean layering pillows and textiles on the sofa so people pay attention to them, not the sofa. And it could mean creating vignettes with accessories on the coffee or side tables to hide the flat surfaces.  

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